Blue, I Love You, Blue

Blue Sky

Blue Sky (Photo credit: ninniane)

I love the color blue.  I always have, even as a young girl.  My room was mostly blue when I was growing up.  This was unusual back in those days because blue was always considered masculine. Imagine my mother’s consternation when I insisted I wanted blue with navy accents. When she asked me for a second color, I agreed to have white.  “Ayyah!” she must have muttered under her breath each time.

Lapis lazuli owes its blue color to a sulfur r...

Lapis lazuli owes its blue color to a sulfur radical. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In English, blue is just blue. But in other languages, there are many words to describe the nuances of blue.  In Russian, for example, the different blues are distinct in their language and culture to the extent that each is a distinct color, as green and blue are two different colors in the English language.  This is important because language shapes our thinking just as thinking shapes how we express ourselves.

Historically, blue has been used by the religious, as in the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the mosaic glass windows of churches.It has been used on porcelain vases and other wares from China, England, France, the Netherlands, and Russia.  In ancient times, blue was a difficult color to obtain, until it was mined as lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

Blue has been used in many expressions, as in the French expletive, “Sacre Bleu,” which has its origins in the reference to the “sacred blue,” a reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  People say they are “blue” when they feel sad, despondent, melancholic.  But in German, to say you’re blue (blau sein), you are drunk.

Eiffel Tower - Sacre Bleu - Second Life

Eiffel Tower – Sacre Bleu – Second Life (Photo credit: Sougent Harrop)

With the progress in technologies, sharing of information in the global markets, the spectrum of blue has expanded.  Here are some shades, hues, variations:

  1. Azure Blue – a blue that comes from the weathering of copper
  2. Lapis Lazuli – mined in Afghanistan for 3000 years. It was used in Egypt and all over the ancient world.
  3. Ultramarine – derived from lapis lazuli
  4. Aquamarine – greenish blue
  5. Cerulean – a lighter blue, results from copper and cobalt
  6. Cobalt Blue – this is the blue used to paint on porcelain, stained glass, even paint used by painters
  7. Prussian blue – with darker tones, synthetic, used in blue print ink
  8. Indigo – plant derived; used as a dye for denim and jeans
  9. Sapphire – rich blue. Did you know that the best sapphires are not the deep dark ones?  The best ones are described as cornflower blue.
  10. Turquoise – a rich bright blue used in a lot of mosques

In music, there is also much allusion to blue.  There’s the Rhythm & Blues, the Blues, a Blue note (used in jazz when a piece is placed in a lower note for emphasis), or Bluegrass music (American country music), the British band Moody Blues.

Rhythm Blues and Soul Music Portal Logo

Rhythm Blues and Soul Music Portal Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through history, blue has been worn by soldiers, royal armies, and it is still used in business attire today.  In sports, it is a favored color, as in many national flags.

I remember reading Nick Joaquin‘s “Verde, Yo Te Quiero Verde,” thinking, how can he say that “blue whips, and

blue is thought, despair; the ink-stain
time prints on all matter; the cold
vague melancholy eyes retain
of voyages long perished from importance.

I realize it was during the war and he longed for the green of freedom. And when you read the poem (written in 1939, by the way), it’s quite anguished and hopeful.

"AIN'T NO SUNSHINE"

“AIN’T NO SUNSHINE” (Photo credit: Englishpointers (SLEEP APNEA so tired))

I beg to differ about blue. For me, blue is a bright clear morning sky heralding the promise of a new day.  Of countless possibilities.  Of second chances.  Of serendipity.  Of something new and exciting.

Blue is calm, quiet, with defenses lowered.  There is a Tagalog expression, “malamig sa mata.”  I guess the closest translation is that blue to me, is very cool or pleasant to the eyes. Blue brings the promise of pleasant times to come.

I’m always reminded of an Irving Berlin song made famous by Ella Fitzgerald (1958) and more recently brought back to the airwaves by the late Eva Cassidy, “Blue Skies.”  It’s such a great song.

Blues Alley Marquee

Blues Alley Marquee (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev’ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door
Skies were gray but they’re not gray anymore

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

I should care if the wind blows east or west
I should fret if the worst looks like the best
I should mind if they say it can’t be true
I should smile, that’s exactly what I do

Enjoy Eva Cassidy singing this song live at Blues Alley, Washington DC in 1996:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N27BKOwKZog

This entry was posted in Blue, Blue Skies, Colors, Happiness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Blue, I Love You, Blue

  1. Good piece about blue.Thank you. I enjoyed it.

    Like

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  4. Laura Alonso says:

    Reading this post has made me feel… not blue! Great write and interesting read.

    Like

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  7. Jo Bryant says:

    I love all the facts you’ve amassed about blue…I had no idea of most of this – wow

    Like

  8. Marianne says:

    Who knew so much about the colour blue? Not me, that´s for sure 🙂

    Lovely photos to illustrate your words, too.

    Like

  9. eof737 says:

    I love blue and purple too. 😉

    Like

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  11. munchow says:

    Thank you for an informative and fun post about blue. So much I didn’t know about the colour. Blue is indeed quite a colour.

    Like

  12. I love blue too. A lot of the things that inspires me has something to do with with this serene and fun color. Seeing a blue sky is like having an assurance that everything will be alright. Beautiful images. Thanks.

    Like

  13. John Todaro says:

    What an interesting post! Ella did a fine job on that tune…and the color made another hit the following year when Miles Davis released his famous record: Kind Of Blue.

    Like

  14. eventpros says:

    Thanks for including Event Pros LA in your blog!

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